I noticed something interesting tonight. Someone left a new drink coaster at my place.

Weird, huh?

I was up late watching Six Feet Under again (just started the fourth season) and looking for somewhere to rest my beverage when I noticed this new coaster on top of one of the posh wood speakers my wife bought long ago. Old speakers, the kind that do the job and look good, so I don’t want sweat from an icy Sierra Nevada to warp the finish*.

And here was this nice new coaster. It was plastic, about half an inch thick and had some weird photo or something on it, but it did the job and it did the job well. The beers did indeed sweat and the coaster did indeed stop the sweat from ever touching the wood.

What’s weird is I just do not remember where this coaster came from. We had friends over on turkey day last week, maybe one of them left it. But do people carry their own drink coasters around with them? I don’t know. I mean, we drank quite a bit that night, but this coaster I think I would remember.

Well, whatever the case I was damn glad to have this thing tonight. I mean, it really did a good job as a coaster, not like those cardboard ones we had previously, that had old soda pop logos on them. No, the sweat would burrow right through those, soaking them and then making them stick to the wood of the speakers, sometimes even tatooing the colorful designs of corn syrup goodies of the past to the wood. And that’s almost impossible to get out.

So I used this coaster for several hours before I accidentally knocked it off the speaker and saw that it’s thickness obscured something.

A secret purpose.

Picking its hinged body up now I saw that it It wasn’t a coaster at all but a CD jewel case. I was shocked when I found the disc inside.

“Hmmm…” I said to myself, examining the disc in the modest light of our 3 AM living room before popping it into the CD player.

Once the CD started to play everything changed. I immediately regretted arresting this object’s streamlined purpose as a coaster for an obviously secondary, and frankly not-so-hot ‘hidden meaning’. Mesmerized by the complete banality and lack of imagination I heard I could not make it the entire way through, although just out of pure curiosity I left it in for 12 out of the 14 tracks.

‘Wow, is this bad I thought.’ Weak, milquetoast arrangements apparently meant to be edgy and epic, perhaps the off key caterwauling of the vocalist being the worst overall aspect of this seemingly self indulgent venture**.

Finally I took the thing out, deciding to never again acknowledge the drink coaster’s secret purpose. I resumed the epic of the Fisher family, set the jewel case, CD once again safely inside, back on the speaker and placed a fresh Pale Ale on top of it.

Who would have thought Axel Rose would wait, what? over a decade to put out the world’s best beer coaster? Thanks dude.


* when did I start thinking about things like warping a finish? Good grief…

** oh don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great musician and a pretty good vocalist, if he could just get over the Howard-Hughs-of-rock thing and stop trying so damn hard.